Unabashedly a women's picture, and one that dares address the romantic longings of a woman north of 40 (Patricia Clarkson), Cairo Time takes the further risk of having her do very little but stroll around the city, waiting for her husband and contemplating an affair. It's a bit like the Sex and the City 2 ladies in Abu Dhabi—if you removed everything but the sand. Cairo Time is more of a mood piece, and very much a tribute to that city (beautifully photographed in wide screen by Luc Montpellier). Clarkson's Juliette is an empty nester, her husband a UN official delayed for days at work, a woman who may not need to work—but it keeps the time at bay. In Cairo, she has nothing to do but sightsee. And if she misses her husband a little, she's fascinated by his handsome friend Tareq (Alexander Siddig, who had a long run on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and has become a go-to Arab in Syriana and other movies). He chaperones her about town, doesn't say very much (no one says very much), and tempts her by doing very little tempting. They float on the Nile, play chess, visit the pyramids, attend a wedding—and the amazing thing is that while this isn't terribly eventful, it also isn't exactly boring. It's just...held, suspended between Juliette's life back home and the life she might contemplate having. And if the movie doesn't finally insist that women like her should leave their husbands, it will doubtlessly prompt many to begin planning trips to Egypt.
Tempted and tempter: Clarkson and Siddig.
Opens at Seven Gables, Fri., Sept. 3. Not rated. 89 minutes.